Audi showcases E-tron GT at Spa before 24-hour endurance race

The Audi e-tron GT is all but ready to make its global debut, but the German company is still teasing us with a prototype. Audi’s latest stunt shows the e-tron GT alongside a pack of race-spec R8 LMS models at the infamous Spa Francorchamps track. The gathering took place a couple of days before the 2020 24 Hours of Spa kicked off, so this is more than just a regular teaser. But what is Audi trying to say?

Audi is signaling the arrival of a higher performance EV

There Could Be a Hidden Meaning Behind Audi Teasing the E-Tron GT With R8 LMS Race Cars
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A competitor for the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S, the e-tron GT will pack a lot of punch.

The concept car that Audi unveiled in 2018 was fitted with two electric motors rated at a combined 582 horsepower and that’s probably the kind of output we should expect in the range-topping trim. But lining up an e-tron GT alongside R8 LMS race cars also means that Audi wants to take this EV further on the performance front. This was already confirmed earlier in October 2020 by Markus Duesmann, the company’s global chief, who said there will be an RS version of the four-door EV.

"We are taking things another step further; I am pleased to announce today that there will be also an RS version of the e-tron GT, which will be launched together with the e-tron GT," Duesmann said earlier this month.

There Could Be a Hidden Meaning Behind Audi Teasing the E-Tron GT With R8 LMS Race Cars
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The e-tron GT shares underpinnings with the Porsche Taycan, so the RS model should be as powerful as the Taycan Turbo S.

Porsche’s range-topping model comes with 751 horsepower. Although it won’t be as efficient as the regular model, the RS version should still be able to provide around 200 miles of range per single charge.

Audi is preparing for an electrified racing future

There Could Be a Hidden Meaning Behind Audi Teasing the E-Tron GT With R8 LMS Race Cars
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Showcasing the e-tron GT alongside the R8 LMS is also a sign that Audi wants to bring electrification to the race track. While most series are still running gasoline-powered race cars and some hybrids, it’s pretty obvious that electrification will take over in a few years. We already have Formula E for fully electric single-seaters, so it’s just a matter of time until the FIA will introduce an EV series for sports cars and even grand tourers.

There Could Be a Hidden Meaning Behind Audi Teasing the E-Tron GT With R8 LMS Race Cars
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Granted, the e-tron GT doesn't really have racing pedigree and we probably won't see a racing category for four-door sedans anytime soon, but Audi could use the technology for a different car.

Like a replacement for the R8 e-tron, an all-electric variant of the R8. Introduced in 2015, the R8 e-tron was short-lived and Audi sold fewer than 100 units. The e-tron GT could spawn a revival of the R8 e-tron or it could be used to develop a third-generation R8 with battery power only. The next step would be to put the all-electric R8 on the race track.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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